Lorde | Melodrama |
I rarely write about albums because I’m usually unfamiliar with the artist’s entire discography and I always think to myself that it’s necessary for me to hear how a particular musician has developed their sound through different albums. And I think I’m familiar enough with Lorde’s musical career that while listening to her new release, Melodrama, I had a few thoughts on how the singer-songwriter has either made alterations or improvements to her sound, both of which showcases Lorde’s maturity as a musician. I found her in the beginning to be an indie darling with her debut “The Love Club EP,” (when I was young and was very into electropop). It was a decent album but was just slightly lacklustre and was missing this special something. Then came “Pure Heroine” which of course garnered critical acclaim which was rightly deserved. That album was a refreshing take on pop music that felt different, authentically youthful and goddamn catchy. So it was normal to be excited to hear that Lorde was making new music but after hearing the first single “Green Light” I was kind of dubious about the new album. But “Liability” was then released and my hope was somewhat restored. It was a great ballad track, but it wasn’t what I was looking for in Lorde. I understand that musicians can take different directions with their music but the style of music on “Pure Heroine” had such an effect on me that it was hard to not look forward to it in her new album (she did not disappoint btw).
I think it’s great that Lorde took her time with “Melodrama” and it shows, the album feels complete and carefully thought through. But me being a huge snob had some qualms with some tracks. I’ve heard time and time again that “Hommade Dynamite” is probably the best track off the album and was the single that was never meant to be, but I kind of disagree. The track played out like it was targeting for the top charts (which I’m not too fond off). I feel the same way about the closing track “Perfect Places” (which I’m sure after a few more listens I’ll come around to it but for now I just kind of see to who it’s being catered to). “Hommade Dynamite” did however have one redeeming quality in which Lorde says so gingerly “now you know it’s really gonna blow” and makes an explosion sound which definitely shows her quirky (and down-to-earth i guess?) aspect of her music.
I’ve adored Lorde for her signature sound of layering her own voice over in tracks which presents her distinct originality and even puts her above the rest of other pop singers that just fall into the category of generic. And this was what “The Louvre” delivered – the track had a simple guitar riff in the beginning that built up Lorde’s own layered vocals that echoed throughout the track, giving it some sort of insurmountable depth. The chorus of this track, “broadcast the boom boom boom and make ’em all dance to it” is again something representative of Lorde’s quirkiness – it’s simple, meaningful and pretty memorable.
“Hard Feelings/Loveless” is basically two tracks combined into one and seems to have no bearing on each other (and I’m still not sure why they’re one track instead of two, probably could be how Lorde herself has transitioned and moved on from her past relationship and becoming a whole new person or something like that). Lorde said in an interview that “we can all do whatever we want in terms of instrumentation” and I think she tested that theory in this track (Hard Feelings) because I kind of hear a beat made out of doors squeaking. At times it sounds innovative and inventive, but at other times it really just sounds like a squeaky door.
Lorde also explored new sounds with the addition of orchestral instrumentation in “Sober II (Melodrama)” elevates the outpouring of emotion from the singer-songwriter (it changed my mind on solely looking for electropop when listening to her music). This pretty much goes for “Writer in the Dark” as well, with simply just piano instrumentation, it places focus on Lorde’s Fiona Apple-esque vocals and the emotion poured into this track was palpable. Lorde came across as genuinely hurt, portraying herself as the type to leap into a relationship rather than just dipping her toes in and accepting the consequences of her openhearted nature.
“Supercut” is alike to “Green Light” nothing breathtaking but not terrible either (I probably just need to listen to it on repeat or something).
“Liability (Reprise)” kind of brings a calming close to the emotional album before “Perfect Places.” It seemed like she’s come to terms with not only her shortcomings as a partner but also how the other had their own faults as well (basically it made me feel emotions). Her vocals are particularly raw here (maybe less so than “Writer in the Dark” but felt honest nevertheless) and the beat feels reminiscent of her previous single “Tennis Court” (which felt like a throwback to me).
A significant part of the album is Lorde divulging into a past relationship that has affected her in a big way and it felt like an open letter to her listeners. An open letter about her experiences as a youth under the limelight and the consequences of fame. The album had stellar production that suited Lorde’s unmistakable musical style and the countless commendation is well-deserved.